Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is delighted to give both Mail & Guardian and Daily Dispatch a GLAD[1] for their great portrayal of children in stories about children who are working to make South Africa a better place.

Mail & Guardian’s article titled, “Teen activist on a mission to improve South Africa’s climate literacy rate (01/10/2021) by Marcia Zali reports on a 17-year-old girl, Sera Farista who is a climate and social justice activist from Johannesburg. The story reports that Sera is part of a youth-led, intersectional organisation known as Collective Movement and that the grade 11 is passionate about improving people’s knowledge and awareness around climate change.

 According to the article, Sera Farista was inspired by a research assignment she once did in grade eight and that is where she realised that there is a gap in people’s knowledge around climate change so she came up with a solution to educate people via social media.

The journalist gives a platform for the young activist to make her voice heard by interviewing her and by doing so, promotes her right to freedom of speech. The photographer also did a great job with the picture that accompanies the story of the child showing her in a green shrub.

Climate change is a global issue and MMA has published few reports on the coverage of this. Some parts of the reports analyse the media coverage of the contributions that young activists have made.[2] The journalist, Marcia Zali did a great job by reporting on the contributions this child is making to the fight against climate change and by accessing the views of the child. This is not only empowering for the child but also inspiring for other children.

Daily Dispatch’s article titled, “Seven-year-old computer wiz builds own robot (02/10/2021) by Sikho Ntshobane reports on a grade two pupil who is very ambitious about coding and has created his own robot. According to the article, the child, Natemba Songoni learnt the art of coding and robotics from his father and that is when he started creating his own computer games and animated stories that other kids can use.

The journalist went all out in the story to access Natemba’s voice by interviewing and quoting him throughout the article talking about his creation and coding. We commend the journalist for adding the child’s voice to the article as this is empowering.

“I want to use coding to create advanced medicines and technological treatment methods to help cure sick people,” says Natemba in the story.

Accompanying the article is a picture of the child smiling and holding his robots. Also in the picture are the child’s parents.

According to MMA’s Editorial Guidelines and Principles for Reporting on Children in the Media,[3] “Children have a right to have their views heard on matters that affect them, so the media should try and include them.”

MMA applauds Mail & Guardian and Daily Dispatch for positively portraying the children in the stories and accessing their views. We would like to encourage both media and journalists to continue reporting on stories involving children and giving them a chance to share their views.

Written by Yinhla Ngobeni

Edited by Lister Namumba

[1] GLADs are awarded to media for reporting on children positively and for accessing them